CLEVELAND — Nine months ago, Charles Jackson was set free after spending 27 years in prison for a murder he says he did not commit. Prosecutors were about to put him on trial again, but decided instead to dismiss all charges.
Cuyahoga County prosecutors dropped aggravated murder charges against Jackson, but they are not admitting the wrong man was convicted.
Jackson was convicted in 1991. Last year, he was granted a new trial after Ohio Innocence Project lawyers found discrepancies in testimony from witnesses.
“When I got the call from my lawyers, it’s like big ole sigh of relief, you know what I’m saying, it’s all over with, thank God,” Jackson said.
During a pretrial hearing on Thursday, Cuyahoga County prosecutors dismissed the charges against Jackson, which means no new trial.
He had been accused of killing a man inside a Cleveland drug house.
“We discovered that initial police reports indicate that those people didn’t know who it was, didn’t make any identifications and couldn’t identify Charles,” said his attorney, Kimberly Corral.
The prosecutor’s office released a statement that reads, “Due to the passage of time and a material change in eyewitness testimony, our office did not have a good faith belief that we currently possess sufficient evidence to obtain a guilty verdict. This is not an exoneration of Charles Jackson as the case remains under investigation and charges can be refiled in the future if new evidence arises.”
“I don’t think any amount of investigation is gonna show that Charles Jackson is guilty of this crime,” Corral said.
Charles has been getting reacquainted with family, including his daughter Ciara, who was born three months after his arrest.
In addition to completing culinary school, he is donating one of his kidneys to his nephew.